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Enjoy city nightlife as clocks go back – night czar – BBC News

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City Hall are urging government to support London nightlife in the run up to Christmas

London’s night czar is encouraging people to use the extra hour gained by the clocks going back to enjoy and support the city’s night-time economy.

Amy Lamé added that Londoners should make the most of the array of nightlife in the run up to Christmas.

However, Rob Blackie, Liberal Democrat mayoral candidate said people would “likely take the extra hour in bed”.

She also wants VAT-free shopping for non-EU visitors but the government says it has already helped this sector.

She added: “We’re committed to doing all we can to provide our support as we build a more prosperous London for all, but we need ministers to urgently step forward to provide the assistance so these vital businesses can reap the benefits of the vital golden quarter.”

The golden quarter refers to the period starting in October and ending in December, when businesses tend to see a spike in sales in the build up to Christmas.

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Businesses see a spike in sales in the run up to Christmas

The trade body UK Hospitality has also raised concerns over the industry’s ability to cope with demand due to staff shortages, the increase costs of doing business and concerns about insecure leases and licensing issues.

Her role and efforts to boost the night-time economy have been criticised by the Liberal Democrats and Conservatives.

“Business owners have told me they don’t see any help from the night czar,” added Mr Blackie.

“Our increasingly early closing and family unfriendly licensing laws threaten to make us look dour compared to other European cities.”

Mr Blackie said he had spoken to a number of councils who told him they were less likely to grant late licenses now than in the past.

A post on social media site X, formerly Twitter, by Ms Lame recently highlighted how she advocated for 4am licenses for two Soho venues, Here and The Lower Third.

‘Nightlife being dismantled’

Other critics of Ms Lamé, said more needed to be done to support London’s nightlife.

Conservative mayoral candidate, Susan Hall, told the BBC: “Sadiq Khan has been paying his mate nearly £120,000 per year to sit back and watch as our city’s nightlife is dismantled.

“We cannot allow our bars, clubs, restaurants and venues to keep being let down like this.”

She has called for specific policies to address the issue.

Image source, Greater London Authority

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Ms Lamé is London’s first night czar and has been in the role since 2016

Ms Lamé, has been in her role since 2016, and earns a salary of almost £117,000. She is also a writer and presenter on BBC Radio 6 Music.

As night czar she wants the government to reintroduce VAT-free shopping to attract international visitors.

Until January 2021, non-EU visitors to the UK were able to get a VAT refund on their shopping by presenting their receipt at the airport.

The VAT refund scheme ended after the UK left the EU, with the government arguing it was “a costly relief which does not benefit the whole of the country equally”.

A government spokesperson said: “We’re supporting night-time industry businesses with 75% of business rates relief, freezing alcohol duty rates, and reducing employer national insurance.”

London saw more than one million additional tourists visiting the city in the three months to June.

City Hall says this was due to the increased number of people attending live music shows and bumper cinema sales.

Across the weekend of October 14-15, ridership figures from Transport for London (TfL) show more than 150,000 entries and exits took place during Night Tube hours.

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